“This matters because this is our 271st target seat. If we win this, looking forward to next year’s general election, all bets are off and the whole thing is up in the air.”
Nigel Farage, 20 November 2015
Mark Reckless is the second Ukip MP to take his seat in the Commons after two by-election victories for the party in six weeks.
A jubilant Nigel Farage thinks the result in Rochester and Strood means the general election is now wide open. The Kent seat was not even one of Ukip’s big targets, the Ukip leader said – it was way down the list at 271.
Does this really mean Ukip could sweep the board next year?
Mr Farage is drawing on research by academics Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, whose book about the rise of Ukip, Revolt on the Right, evidently has some fans within the party.
Ford and Goodwin have drawn up a list of the parliamentary seats they think are most “favourable” to Ukip, based on local demographics.
Research suggests that certain sections of society are more likely to vote Ukip than others, and by going through data from the 2011 census, the two academics are able to identify areas where the population are more likely to be receptive to the party’s message.
Pensioners, people who leave school with no qualifications and manual workers are apparently more likely to vote for Farage et al. Professionals, people with university degrees and members of ethnic minorities are likely to resist the message. (more…)